It’s been nearly 15 years since the 2000 Florida presidential election. Under then-Gov. Jeb Bush’s watch, tens of thousands of African Americans were purged from the voter rolls. “Florida” has since become a metaphor for voter disenfranchisement.
I watched with disbelief as Bush tried to woo black voters at the National Urban League’s annual conference:
I know there are great and lasting things we can achieve together, maybe only together, to keep America faithful to its ideals of equality and justice for all. Your support in that effort is something I will work every day to earn. I welcome your friendship, and I ask for your vote.
He must think African Americans are stupid or have collective amnesia.
Bush certified the contested 2000 election for his brother, George W., who got a measly nine percent of the black vote. As the writer and producer of a documentary about the election debacle, Counting on Democracy, I plan to refresh folks’ memory of how black voters were “Bushwacked” in Florida. There’s also a new generation of voters who have never heard of hanging and dangling chads, or seen a punch card ballot.
By the way, one of the key players in Florida was the legendary dirty trickster, Roger Stone, who I interviewed for the film. Stone is now working for Donald Trump.
Stone must be up to his old tricks. He reportedly was fired by Trump. Stone said he quit.
But I digress.
Counting on Democracy, narrated by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, aired nationwide on PBS in 2002. If you would like to arrange a screening for your school, class, organization or church, email me.